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Tigres takes a big lead in Clasico Regio series after a spirited performance

Tigres bounced back from their regular season defeat to beat Monterrey 4-1 in the first leg of their QF series.

Tigres and Monterrey lived up to the potential, as well as to their current level of play, as Tigres took a big advantage heading into the second leg lead with a 4-1 win at home. Tigres looks to be in the driver seat, although Monterrey made it interesting for a couple of seconds with a late goal by Jose Maria Basanta. Tigres, who had lifted their level of play in the last regular season games, continued to show signs of being back to their championship level, while Monterrey continued with their struggles that caused them to lose their third straight game.

The first half was a very entertaining one. Tigres was the more offensive of the two sides and took advantage of two Monterrey defensive mistakes. While Tigres had more control of the ball, Monterrey was playing well in defense and had just as many dangerous chances. Then Ismael Sosa was able to get past the defense and shoot the ball, which Hugo Gonzalez deflected straight into the path of Gignac. Gignac made no mistake from the rebound and Tigres had the lead.

Monterrey reacted almost immediately, but Tigres suddenly started being more dangerous and had a Juninho goal called back for offside (rightly so). Still, Monterrey lost composure, especially Gonzalez. Then in the final minute of the half, the second mistake of Monterrey gave way to the second Tigres goal. A cross was badly deflected by Cesar Montes toward Dueñas, who scored from near range.

The second half seemed to change things as Monterrey started to take control of the ball. But for all their possession, they didn't create any danger and it seemed as Tigres had them under control defensively. Then a great cross by Sosa, after a great combination play, found Gignac wide open for the 3-0.

The score now looked like it had settled the series and Monterrey started getting desperate. To make matter worse, substitute forward Aldo De Nigris got red carded a couple of minutes after going on. De Nigris had made a foul on Javier Aquino and in the ensuing fight with Tigres players, appeared to slap Nahuel Guzman (who looked to have exaggerated) and got the red card.

As time was about to expire, it seemed that Monterrey had a lifeline when Guzman bobbled a corner kick and left the ball for Basanta to score the very important away goal. Yet in the immediate next play, Dueñas scored a long range goal for the definite score in what looks to have wrapped the series for the felinos.

Tigres made a statement with today's game, a statement most people were expecting. It was no secret that although the team was on the liguilla bubble, they had the most talented squad and would be a force if they got into the Liguilla. Monterrey fans, who a couple of weeks ago were in high spirits, making fun of Tigres fans for losing the regular season Clasico Regio and then a week later losing the CONCACAF Champions League final to Pachuca, might rue their mockery of them. And it looks like Tigres might have the last laugh in regards to both Pachuca and Monterrey. Monterrey now needs to score three goals and not concede as they cling to their only hope of an away goal this Saturday, against a team that is simply in a better stretch of play.